This perfecto jacket was adapted from the stiff traditional indigo-dyed hats worn by Miao tribes in eastern Guizhou. The Miao masters re-wove the original diamond pattern, then dyed it grey using mulberry leaves from the local mountain forest. To make the pattern more pronounced, we followed the traditional technique of pounding the fabric all day with a wooden mallet.
The long-sleeve shirt underneath is made from a cotton and silk blend gauze handwoven at our training program workshop in Dimen village. The silk was raised in the homes of nearby villagers, and the naturally organic cotton was grown locally.
Due to the delicate fine thread and gentle touch required to maintain its lightweight hand, it will take an entire day to weave 3 meters of narrow-width fabric (40 cm wide). It took seven days to weave enough fabric for one shirt. The fabric was then boiled in water and washed with a mineral powder that gives a dry feel and naturally repels mosquitos.
The villagers usually produce durable fabrics, so it is unusual for them to produce such fine and lightweight silk blends. Being able to control every stop of the fabric-weaving process enabled us to experiment with fiber blends like this and create new modern qualities.
This delicate cross-stitch panel was hand-emroidered by the Miao tribes and took one week to complete. The flower, grain, and water iconography are used as tools to tell the oral history of their people.
The diamond “fish-eye” pattern fabric created for the pleated pants was originally inspired by the traditional indigo version made by the Buyi minority tribe in the south of Guizhou. The cotton diamond pattern is topped with a silk version at the waistband, then dyed golden yellow using fresh geranium pods from the mountain forest.
Above look credits: Stockton Johnson (photographer), Vanessa Bellugeon (stylist)